Kearns' absence further depletes Marlins' outfield

Kearns' absence further depletes Marlins' outfield

MIAMI -- Outfield depth has become a serious concern for the Marlins.

After Austin Kearns was sent to the hospital Sunday morning because of an irregular heartbeat, the team had no healthy outfielders on the bench. Giancarlo Stanton missed his third straight game with a left shoulder bruise, and Justin Ruggiano started in right field Sunday, despite missing Saturday night because of a tight right groin.

"It's probably not 100 percent right now, but I'll get through," Ruggiano said.

Before Sunday's game, Manager Mike Redmond said the club would have to evaluate whether to make a roster move before the series with the Nationals starts Monday.

"We're out of outfielders, so [Ruggiano] is going to play right field," Redmond said. "With Stanton out, we're a little thin. Well, we're very thin. We're running out of options out there. He's got to play. I don't have another outfielder."

The team has not ruled out a disabled list stint for Stanton, who is not likely to be ready Monday.

"The plan was probably to give him a couple of days, and then probably re-evaluate [Monday] and see how he's doing," Redmond said. "I haven't gotten a chance to talk with him yet. I don't think he's even an option as an emergency."

If Stanton is just a few days away from returning, the club could probably get by being shorthanded. But with Ruggiano not at full strength, and Kearns' status uncertain, the club has no natural outfielders on the bench.

Chris Valaika, the utility infielder, and Greg Dobbs can play in the outfield. And last year, second baseman Donovan Solano played some left field.

Kearns was kept overnight Sunday for observation. Stanton was available to pinch-run Sunday, and the hope was that he would swing the bat Monday.

"We can't play down two or three guys for very long," Redmond said. "We hope that after today, we'll figure out where we are at."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter